All Aboard

You and Operation Lifesaver

Every year in Canada approximately 300 collisions and trespassing incidents occur at highway/railway crossings and along railway tracks resulting in the death or serious injury of nearly 130 people.

The reasons for these numbers vary. For instance, many vehicle drivers do not pay close attention when approaching a highway/railway crossing. Some do not realize that a train cannot stop quickly, and take chances by trying to beat the train or driving around gates. Pedestrians often ignore warning signs and signals, and use railway tracks as shortcuts.

To make people of all ages more aware of the dangers surrounding railway tracks, and thereby reduce or prevent crossing collisions and trespassing incidents, Operation Lifesaver (OL) has developed a number of structured presentations, each designed for a specific audience or age group (see list below). Annually, approximately 2,000 presentations are delivered across Canada by approximately 350 certified OL presenters – to schools, youth clubs, driver associations and community groups. In addition, OL volunteers spread the railway safety message to a wider public by organizing awareness events such as mock collision presentations at crossings and participating at safety displays in malls, conferences, trade shows, etc…

Depending upon the age of an audience, OL presentations vary in length. They consist of an oral presentation, and include audio/visual aids such as slides, flip charts, and videos. OL publications and other material are often distributed on these occasions.

OL accepts applications from interested individuals from all walks of life; however prospective volunteers must undergo a formal screening process.

Applicants must be sponsored by an OL member agency and obtain a police record check on initiation of their application.

Upon completion of their training, individuals are classified as Associates. An individual who wishes to advance to the Presenter level may do so by completing a formal presentation, while being monitored by a qualified Presenter-Trainer. Subsequently, with enough experience and ability they may also be qualified to become a Presenter-Trainer.

OL also maintains a database to collect and monitor information on its various presentations and other safety activities. The database allows OL to evaluate the effectiveness of its overall safety efforts, and focus on areas requiring special attention.

OL Presentation categories include:

  • Kindergarten to Grade 3
  • Grade 4 to Grade 6
  • Pre-teens
  • Teenagers
  • ATV operators
  • Snowmobile operators
  • Driver education audiences
  • School Bus drivers
  • Truck and other professional drivers including emergency responders
  • Police
  • Adults (general including company safety programs)
  • Adults (government and other agencies)
  • Miscellaneous (e.g. youth and community groups)

OL Activities include:

  • Media event – radio
  • Media event – television
  • Mall display
  • Safety blitz
  • Mock collision simulation
  • Officer-on-the-train
  • Rail Safety Days
  • Miscellaneous